Raila Odinga calls election results in Kenya null and void and calls for calm

Raila Odinga calls election results in Kenya null and void and calls for calm
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NAIROBI — Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga declared the results of the election “null and void” and vowed to challenge them in court, ignoring calls for him to yield to declared winner William Ruto.

Ruto was named the winner of the elections by Wafula Chebukati, chair of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), on Monday – an announcement marred with allegations of vote-rigging and disagreements among commissioners over the hard-fought race.

“Mr. Chebukati’s are null and void and must be smashed by a court,” Odinga said at a news conference. “I want to commend our supporters for staying calm and keeping the peace and urge them to continue to do so. No one should take the law into their own hands.”

“We are following constitutional and lawful channels and procedures to address Mr. Chebukati’s illegal and unconstitutional speech,” he added.

The Kenya Electoral Commission declared William Ruto the winner of the 8/15 presidential election, but some senior officials denied the result. (Video: Reuters)

His testimony raises the specter of violence between his supporters and the victor that has overshadowed past elections. Aside from isolated protests, Kenya has been quiet so far following the results.

“It is a relief that Raila has decided to go to court and has asked his supporters to remain calm and await the courts’ decision,” said Meron Elias, analyst for East and South Africa at think tank International Crisis Group . “Despite the uncertainty, this is a reassuring decision.”

Odinga’s announcement could mark a repeat of Kenya’s 2017 election result, when his campaign challenged incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Supreme Court, which subsequently invalidated that vote.

William Ruto declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential elections

However, Kenyatta won the re-election anyway after Odinga told his supporters not to vote, citing distrust of the electoral body. This period was marked by violent street protests and human rights violations.

On Monday afternoon, as the country awaited the election results, one of Odinga’s top election officials, Saitabao Ole Kanchory, said there were reports that the electoral system had been “penetrated and hacked” and that “some of the IEBC officials had committed election violations.” ” “

Minutes before the results were announced, four out of seven Kenyan election officials said they would not stand by them. In a press conference on Tuesday, they said the results were announced by the chairman before the commissioners had every opportunity to deliberate on the tables and objections put forward by the parties.

“The problem we have is the process,” Commissioner Justus Nyang’aya said shortly before Odinga’s press conference. “Unless that is determined by the commissioners, it remains the duty, role and responsibility of only one person in the boardroom.”

The announcement of a victory for Ruto on Monday sparked celebrations among his supporters across the country. In Ngong Town, on the outskirts of Nairobi, motorists honked their horns and formed processions down the street as they celebrated. Meanwhile, people in Ruto’s hometown of Sugoi partied late into the night.

In the western Kenyan town of Kisumu, an Odinga support base, protesters briefly set fire to tires in the street and blocked roads with rocks before police dispersed them.

Kenyans go to the polls in a hard-fought, closely watched election

It is expected that this will be Odinga’s last attempt as a presidential candidate. It was the 77-year-old’s fifth attempt for the top job.

The worst wave of electoral violence in the country occurred in 2007, when Odinga narrowly lost to Mwai Kibaki – also amid allegations of electoral fraud. Post-election violence left more than 1,000 dead and more than 5,000 displaced.

In Kibera, a Nairobi slum believed to be a stronghold for Odinga, crowds who had gathered over the past few days to watch live broadcasts ahead of the results had dispersed. “The announcement was disappointing; Whatever Odinga says we will do, he is our leader. We trust his judgment going forward,” said Job Owino, a supporter.

Mercy Wanjiru, 30, a Mathare resident who was displaced during the 2007 post-election violence, said she was happy with Ruto’s victory and hoped Odinga would relent to avoid a repeat of the violence.

“We have to build a country,” she said. “It is now time to heal and move on.”

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